Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology




The T. M. Sanders site (41LR2) is one of the more important (although still not well known or intensively studied) ancestral Caddo sites known in East Texas, primarily because of its two earthen mounds and the well-preserved mortuary features of Caddo elite persons buried in Mound No. 1 (the East Mound). Archaeological work began at the site in 1931 by The University of Texas at Austin, with sporadic work by members of the Dallas Archeological Society in the 1940s and 1950s. Archaeological and bioarchaeological interpretations of the findings from this work at the Sanders site began with Krieger’s analyses of the burial features and associated funerary objects (including marine shell gorgets, shell beads, arrow points, and ceramic vessels). These analyses and studies continue to the present day, and rely upon the reanalysis and reinterpretation of the archaeological and bioarchaeological materials recovered in the Pearce and Jackson and Jackson's work.

Although the Sanders site is not dated by radiocarbon analyses, the general consensus is that the main Caddo occupation took place around ca. A.D. 1100-1300, contemporaneous with related sites downstream along the Red River near its confluence with the Kiamichi River, and other sites in the Sabine River basin. A late 17th-early 18th century Caddo occupation is also present at the Sanders site, but remains poorly known. Harris and Harris commented that European “trade material is exceptionally scarce” at the Sanders site, but they do note that 478 glass beads had been found at the site. Harris had previously stated that several Caddo burials with European trade goods had been found along Bois d’Arc Creek south of Mound No. 2, the larger or West Mound.

According to Edward B. Jelks, an Historic Caddo area investigated by Lester Wilson (an avocational archaeologist from Wylie, Texas) was about 100 m south of the two mounds at the Sanders site. This may be one of the areas identified by Jackson between ca. 90-150 m south of the mounds where he noted concentrations of triangular arrow points, small end scrapers, flint awls, and other stone tools. A 1971 map in the TARL files drawn by Dee Ann Story locates the historic Caddo settlement east of Bois d’Arc Creek and south of Mound No. 2.

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